Kyiv. The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyj, has ruled out a counter-offensive by his country against Russian forces at this point in time. “We can already launch a successful attack with our means, but we would lose many lives in the process. For me that is unacceptable. We have to wait and we need a little more time,” he told the BBC on Thursday.
The motivation of the troops is there, as is the manpower of the garrisons. But the equipment of the army is still missing in parts. “It hasn’t all arrived yet. We’re still waiting for a few things. For example on armored vehicles. These will advance our counteroffensive and, above all, protect our people.”
Zelenskyi warned against freezing the conflict with Russia and forcing Ukraine into peace. “We cannot be forced to give up our territories. Why should any country in the world give territory to Putin?” Zelenskyy asked.
Kyiv lowers expectations of offensive
Previously, Ukrainian officials had also tried to dampen Western expectations of the country’s imminent war successes. Kiev has “understood that you have to deliver successes,” reported the BBC from government circles. In a war that has already lasted 15 months, one should not see a “silver bullet” in an offensive.
Military historians have also recently lowered expectations of the Ukrainian army’s short-term successes. “The West must also brace itself for the prospect that this offensive may not achieve the kind of successes that Ukraine has achieved in its successful operations in Kharkiv and Kherson,” the researchers warned on Wednesday Foreign affairs.
Ukrainian troops advance in Bakhmut
However, recent successes by the Ukrainian armed forces in the heavily contested city of Bakhmut contradict the Ukrainian president’s reserved tone. According to the supreme commander of the Ukrainian army, Oleksandr Syrskyj, the Russian army was partially pushed back there.
“Above all, we conduct effective counterattacks. In some areas of the front line, the enemy could not withstand the onslaught of Ukrainian defenders and retreated to a distance of 2 km,” the general said Thursday via Telegram. Syrskyj commented on the success in the words of the army reformer Clausewitz: “The war will be fought until victory. Period.” Recently, numerous images of fierce fighting in the Donbass have been circulating on social media.
Study shows: Flight is growing fastest in Ukraine
Meanwhile, the number of internally displaced people in Ukraine has risen to 5.9 million in 2022. “This war has displaced around 16.9 million people and also resulted in 5.9 million people being internally displaced in the country at the end of the year, making Ukraine’s conflict-related displacement rate faster than anywhere else in the world,” wrote scientists from the Geneva-based IDMC Institute for Displaced Persons Research in a study on the subject published on Thursday.
74 percent of Ukrainians expressed their wish to be able to return to their hometown at some point. However, thanks to the conflict experiences since 2014 and with the help of international donors, Ukraine quickly adapted to the new crisis. (fw)
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